‘Those waving Pak, IS flags to be dealt as anti-nationals, over ground workers of militants, will face harsh action’
Srinagar: Army chief Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday that people who attempt to come to rescue of militants during anti-militancy operations will be treated as ‘Over Ground Workers’ of militants and those displaying Pakistani and IS flags will be dealt as anti-nationals.
“They will face harsh actions,” he said.
General Rawat said government forces were facing higher casualties in Kashmir because of the manner in which the local population is preventing them from conducting operations and “at times even supporting the terrorists to escape”.
Police define OGW
An over ground worker covertly provides logistic support and facilitates movement of militants. Apparently, they are not even on the radar of security agencies. Those who provide shelter to militants are also over ground workers.
“We would now request the local population that people who have picked up arms, and they are the local boys, if they want to continue with the acts of terrorism displaying flags of ISIS and Pakistan, then we will treat them as anti-national elements and go helter-skelter for them.
They may survive today but we will get them tomorrow. Our relentless operations will continue,” he said.
General Rawat said those supporting “terror activities” are being given an opportunity but if they continue with their acts then “security forces will come down hard on them.”
“We are giving them an opportunity, should they want to continue to then, we will continue with relentless operations may be with harsher measures and that is the way to continue,” he told reporters after laying wreath to the four soldiers who were killed in gunfights with militants in Handwara and Bandipora.
A large number of people came out and clashed with government forces during the gunfight in Hajin, Bandipora. On Sunday, police said 20,000 local residents clashed with government forces—more than two dozen received bullet and pellet injuries in the process—and tried to march towards a house where four militants were engaged in a gunfight with forces.
People coming to the rescue of besieged militants has been a routine phenomenon in the valley for the past nearly two years. Several people have lost their lives in such risky enterprise.
—With PTI inputs